A sinister game on Bougainville?
The peace process between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Bougainville has been slowly and painfully moving in a positive direction thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Governor of Bougainville, John Momis; Joseph Kabui, the former leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army; and Sir Peter Barter, the PNG Government Minister responsible for Bougainville affairs. Years of fighting and many deaths led eventually to an agreement to end the conflict and search for a peaceful way forward to Bougainville independence. As the PNG newspaper The National declared on October 20, "As each month passes, the island moves closer to the goals now so clearly longed-for by all thinking Bougainvilleans". Australian connection Into this situation has now flown a Cessna aircraft belonging to Tasman Australia Airlines and its pilot Peter McGee. On board was a Mr Noah Musingku and a cargo of high-powered weapons. The aircraft landed at the decommissioned and disused Aropa airstrip. Another Australian, Andrew Reid is the owner of Tasman Australia Airlines and he is reported to have directed the flight and landing at Aropa. The National commented: "Many will question the sanity of a man [Mr Musingku] who arrives illegally at Bougainville's disused Aropa air strip with high powered weapons, while the rest of the population heads towards the disarmament and destruction of the many guns still on the island. Does Mr Musingku wish to re-ignite the Bougainville Civil War? But is it a case of insanity or is it more likely the action of some nefarious forces (including some in Australia) who would like to see the peace process come tumbling down so that they can more effectively fish in the conflict that could follow a break- down of the peace process? Mr Musingku is wanted in PNG for a pyramid scam that fraudulently ripped millions of dollars from unsuspecting people there. He is wanted for corruption and money laundering, yet, says The National, "The National Government [of PNG] appears powerless to apprehend Mr Musingku and bring him to trial for massive fraud." Meanwhile, the PNG Government has arrested the Cessna aircraft and charged the airline and its owner for breaching the rules and regulations of PNG's Civil Aviation Act in that they operated an aircraft in a careless manner and were engaged in dangerous activity involving an aircraft. Into these strange happenings comes the name of Francis Ona who helped to initiate the struggle of the Bougainvillean people for independence but parted company with his own people when he refused to join the peace process. The National commented: "like a bad penny, Mr Musingku reappears, apparently posing as some latter-day saviour of Francis Ona and his long-sidelined Meekamui Defence Force". The newspaper goes on: "The interference of Mr Musingku in this situation must be terminated by whatever means can be found, and as rapidly as possible".